Environmental Allergies

December 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

This information is about environmental allergies. It covers what they are, what can cause them, and how to deal with them.

Environmental allergies are your body’s response to substances you inhale at your home, school or workplace. They can be caused by dust, animal dander, mold spores or mildew, or feathers.

Dust and mold allergies are different from pollen allergies because they cause problems all year round–not just at certain seasons.

Environmental allergies may cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes and they may cause coughing and wheezing.

The best way to control environmental allergies is to avoid the things that cause them. The first step is to find out what is producing the allergic reaction.

For example, if your reaction develops at night or when you wake up in the morning, the cause may be a feather pillow or dust mites in the bedding.

Perhaps you notice a reaction when you sit on a couch where your pet likes to sleep. If a reaction occurs when you clean house, you may be allergic to house dust.

Once you think you’ve found the case, try to eliminate it from your environment. For example, use a dacron or polyester pillow (but not foam rubber, because mold spores can grow in it). Use synthetic blankets. If house cleaning sets you off, have someone else do it or at least wear a mask while you clean. If your reaction dies down when you leave your house, it may be caused by a pet. Vacuum carpets, furniture and other places where pets have been. Keep pets out of the bedroom. If the problem persists, you may have to find a new home for the pet or at least keep it outdoors.

If the cause is dust mites, dust mite avoidance measures are helpful. Dust mites are microscopic bug-like creatures that live in pillows, blankets, mattresses, stuffed animals, carpets and cloth-covered furniture. 95% of house dust allergies are caused by dust mites. You can help by covering your pillows, mattress, and box spring with a zippered, soft plastic cover that is labeled “allergy proof”.

You can buy the allergy proof covers at bedding shops and large department stores. A bare floor is best, with only a small area rug. If you must have carpet, choose a synthetic or cotton carpet with a tight weave and a very short pile. Change the central heating filter once a month to cut down on dust and other allergens in the air.

If you can’t eliminate or avoid the cause of your reaction, you may be able to control the allergy. Antihistamine medications can help. If they don’t provide enough relief, call your health care provider. Your provider can evaluate your problem, and perhaps prescribe a stronger medication. Your provider may send you to an Allergist for further evaluation, including a detailed history of your allergy problem and possibly skin test to identify substances that cause it. You may then be given desensitization injections or “allergy shots”.

Whether the treatment is non-prescription antihistamines, a doctor’s prescription, or injections, the treatment works best if you combine it with avoidance of the things that cause your allergic reaction.

Remember these key points:

  • Environmental allergies may be caused by a variety of substances, especially animal dander, molds and dust mites.
  • To identify the cause, note where you have an allergic reaction; then take steps to avoid the probable cause.
  • When you know the cause, continue to avoid it.
  • If that does not work, your health care provider can evaluate your condition and make recommendations, prescribe medication, or possibly refer you to an Allergist for further study.
Tags: cotton carpet, Allergies, non-prescription antihistamines, allergic reactions, mold allergies

Guidelines for Managing Heart Failure

August 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

If you have just been diagnosed with , this information is for you. It will give you an idea of what you can to and what to expect while you are waiting to see a specialist. There are links to pages that will help you keep records so you can talk with your doctor.

Having heart failure isn’t always easy. But people can still live a full and happy life. Learning how to manage and control heart failure is very important in living a normal life. It is common to have lots of concerns about what you should do to manage heart failure. At the minimum, you should continue follow ups with your regular doctor, see a heart failure specialist and a Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist), diet plays a very important part in controlling heart failure. If possible, attend a class at your local hospital or medical center about living with heart failure.

Steps for Managing Heart Failure

  • See your regular doctor on an ongoing basis and talk to your doctor about your treatment plan.
  • Keep all follow-up appointments with your doctors
  • See a Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist) for help with meal planning,?? weight loss or weight control
  • Take your medications exactly like the directions say.
  • Weigh yourself every day. Keep a written record of your weight.
  • Cut down your sodium (salt) intake in foods that you eat and medicines that you take.
  • Stay active. Make sure to balance rest with activity.
  • Ask your hospital if they offer a class for people with heart failure.
  • Get a flu shot every fall.
  • Get a pneumonia shot. Most people only need one.
  • If you smoke, STOP! Need help to quit?
  • Check your blood pressure every day and keep a record or your readings. Monitoring your blood pressure can help you keep it under control and prevent problems.
  • Sometimes people with a chronic health conditions become depressed. Finding out if you have depression and then treating it as important as treating other health conditions. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be depressed. Your doctor can ask you some questions to find out if you are having problems with depression.

General Guidelines for Cutting Down On Salt (Sodium)

  1. Avoid or greatly reduce the use of table salt.
  2. Avoid cured, salted, canned, or smoked meats.
  3. Avoid prepackaged dinners ??? diet or regular
  4. Avoid instant and prepared foods ??? potatoes, cereals, etc.
  5. Avoid high sodium condiments and sauces (check the ingredients and Nutrition Facts Labels for sodium).
  6. Avoid Snack foods with salted toppings.
  7. Use sparingly: Regular canned vegetables, processed cheese/cheese spreads, & regular peanut butter.
  8. Avoid high sodium, non-prescription medications like Baking soda, Bromoseltzer, Alka Seltzer, Fleets enema, Instant Metamucil Mix.

Beverages and Condiments – Avoid these foods:

  • A-1 sauce
  • V- 8 Juice, unless no salt
  • Celery, Garlic or Onion Salt
  • Sports drinks
  • Mustard
  • Catsup/Ketchup/Chili Sauce
  • Horseradish, prepared
  • Worchestershire Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Pickles/Pickle Relish
  • Olives
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Tomato Juice, unless no Salt
  • Barbecue Sauce

Gravies and Sauces – Avoid these foods:

  • Bouillon/Broth
  • Gravies, commercial
  • Meat Sock Sauces
  • Soups, canned and dehydrated
  • Meat Extracts
  • Soups, homemade, except low salt
  • Meat Tenderizers

Meats and Fats – Avoid these foods:

  • Bacon
  • Frankfurters, Hot Dogs – any type
  • Salt Pork/Fat Back
  • Kosher Meat
  • Streak O???lean
  • Luncheon Meats- like bologna, etc.
  • Sausage
  • Salted or Smoked Meats
  • Ham, cured or smoked
  • Canadian bacon
  • Fish, salted or dried, such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies, cod, canned tuna, and salmon unless rinsed.

Snack Foods - Avoid these foods:

  • Breads, rolls and crackers with salted toppings
  • Caviar
  • Potato Chips, regular
  • Chitterlings
  • Pretzels
  • Peanut Butter type crackers
  • Nuts, salted
  • Saltines/Butter type crackers
  • Pork Rinds
  • Salted Popcorn

Read labels carefully. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, limit your salt (sodium) intake to 2,000 mg per day.

Manage Your Congestive Heart Failure with This Diary

Heart Failure & Pain Medication

Tags: allergic reactions, Salt Barbecue Sauce, heart failure, heart disease, Tomato Juice

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